Wives’ conferences – what’s it all about?
Next week is the second of our two annual wives' conferences. People sometimes ask why a trust concerned with the proclamation of the Word of God should be bothered about such things? Here's why.
- those who are married to ministers of the gospel face a peculiar set of pressures and need targeted and thought through encouragement. It is not enough to be a godly woman when you're married into gospel work. Or, rather, of course it's enough to be godly, but godliness takes a slightly different slant in ministry and needs different focus.
- the state of preaching in our churches is intricately linked to the spiritual well being of those who are called to preach – hence "watch your life and doctrine closely." [This is not a "works" link as though the efficacy of preaching was dependent upon godliness. How could it be so? Nevertheless, Scripture does build a connection.] For every married preacher therefore, his marriage and the support of his wife is critical.
There are more good reasons for hosting wives' conferences, but there are two good ones to start. Both the spring wives' conference and summer wives' conference get fully booked – wives NEED this encouragement. We would love churches to take up the burden of paying for ministers' wives to attend – too many pay for themselves and we think churches need to recognise the important role they play in supporting their man.
Booking will soon be open for 2011. Please note that spaces for those with babies are very limited due to the number of child carers we are able to take with us.
Preorder This Year’s Evangelical Ministry Assembly
Last week's Evangelical ministry assembly, on Spirit-filled ministry, was a landmark in many ways. The sessions were stirring and encouraging, and many of you have asked when the recordings would be available. In response, we are making it possible to pre-order the mp3 CD right now.
It will include
- Two sessions on 'Word and Spirit in John' by Christopher Ash
- Three sessions from Judges by Rupert Bentley-Taylor
- Three sessions – living, preaching and praying in the power of the spirit – by John Piper
- A session on the work of the Spirit in the life of George Whitefield by Vaughan Roberts
- All four seminars from the conference: Does prophecy have a place in the church today? What is the role of the Spirit in the life of the preacher? What place did the Holy Spirit have in the doctrine and ministry of the Reformers? And what can we learn about the Spirit from the African church?
- 'An Honest Conversation' between John Coles, Liam Goligher, Hugh Palmer, and Terry Virgo about the ministry of the Holy Spirit in the life of the local church
- And an interview with John Piper.
The mp3 download of the conference will be available later this week, but if you want the CD, do order it now.
Union with Christ
Came across this little summary by G Walter Hansen in the Pillar Commentary on Philippians – it describes how Paul uses the concept of union with Christ together with the preposition with. I found it very stirring.
- Buried with (Rom 6.4, Col 2.12)
- United with (Rom 6.5)
- Crucified with (Rom 6.6, Gal 2.20)
- Live with (Rom 6.7)
- Heirs with (Rom 8.17)
- Suffer with (Rom 8.17)
- Glorify with (Rom 8.17)
- Have the same form with (Rom 8.29, Phil 3.21)
- Be conformed with (Phil 3.10)
Meditate on those and rejoice!
How to preach Psalm 8
Had the joy yesterday of preaching Psalm 8. If you've ever wondered how to do that, or want help to do it, there's a model exposition in Hebrews 2. Hebrews is a great book for knowing how to preach Old Testament passages! So here, for what it's worth is my outline:
- God the exalted creator
- Man the exalted ruler
…but not yet. However……..we do see Jesus. Two key applications (not mine but from Hebrews 2). This means that Jesus is:
- a sufficient Saviour (Hebrews 2.14-17)
- an effective Helper (Hebrews 2.18)
I'll post the audio when it's up on our church website.
Why preach Isaiah?
What is good preaching?
Good preaching is
- Biblical – the Bible, God's word, sets the agenda, rather than the speaker. Anything else is little better than an interesting talk. "Arsenal goalkeepers 1950-1978" is a talk, you might be interested or not. A sermon is expounding the Bible. Ultimately God talks. It's always interesting (even if it's not engaging) because he is talking.
- Intellectual – I don't mean high brow or complex; the preacher must not confuse profundity and complexity. But it must be thought through. This means it must be based on studying God's word to rightly understand its meaning.
- Spiritual – unlike my Arsenal goalkeepers talk a sermon is a sermon because it is spiritual. How else could God be speaking unless something miraculous is going on? This is the theme of our EMA next week. "We ought to be driven forth with abhorrence from the society of honest men for daring to speak in the name of the Lord if the Spirit rests not upon us" (CH Spurgeon). It is the Spirit who ensures that the words of men are also received as the words of God.
- Prophetic – it speaks into situations and is intimately connected with the lives of those to whom it is spoken. This isn't a comment on prophecy (that's a whole different issue) – but true preaching is prophetic in that it connects with people and calls for a response. For this reason, I maintain that every person's favourite preacher must be their pastor – not some internet celebrity. It is only he that engages with you in this truly week-in week-out prophetic manner.
Therefore, the chief tools of the preacher are careful Bible study/preparation and heartfelt prayer. Many, if not most, preachers have deficiencies in one of these areas – if you're like me, quite possibly both! It's basic stuff, but good to remind ourselves what our calling requires of us.
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